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The Healthy Rivers INitiative, the largest land conservation initiative to be undertaken in Indiana, was announced in June 2010. It includes a partnership of resource agencies and organizations who are working with willing landowners to permanently protect more than 43,000 acres along the Wabash River and Sugar Creek in west-central Indiana, and more than 26,000 acres of the Muscatatuck River bottomlands in southeast Indiana. To date, the effort has added to the opening of three conservation areas for recreational use: Austin Bottoms, Sugar Creek, and Wabash River.
Eight key objectives have been identified for HRI:
- Provide a model that balances forests, farmed lands and natural resources conservation.
- Connect separated parcels of public land to benefit wildlife.
- Restore and enhance areas of land along the Wabash River, Muscatatuck River and Sugar Creek.
- Protect important habitat for wildlife.
- Open land to the public for recreational activities such as fishing, hunting, trapping, hiking, canoeing, bird-watching and boating.
- Protect important rest areas for migratory birds.
- Establish areas for nature tourism.
- Provide clean water and protection from flooding to landowners downstream.